By the end of this week, the parking lot at St. Ambrose University's Cosgrove Hall could be gone.
Workers will tear up the pavement, remove an estimated 13,000 cubic yards of dirt and then bury water detention vessels or pipes as part of a $1.85 million drainage project that is expected to eliminate flooding on West Locust Street during most rainstorms.
"It will flood under the street rather than on top," said Jim Hannon, the director of the Davenport school's physical plant.
Anyone who has ever driven on West Locust during a heavy rainstorm knows what happens: The street floods, sometimes badly. And conditions are worse on campus, with flooding in the Cosgrove parking lot and other areas. Excess water makes its way into buildings.
The joint drainage venture between St. Ambrose and the city of Davenport will give the water somewhere else to go: into concrete tanks or a series of 5-foot-diameter pipes that will slowly release the water into the ground and the city's storm sewer system, Hannon said.
A decision on which system to use - tanks or pipes - will be made this week, he said. Either one will capture 1.1 million gallons of water, Hannon added.
That is the amount that falls in a "10-year storm," or one that generates 4.4 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, said Brian Schadt, senior engineer with the Davenport Public Works Department.
A "100-year storm," or one that generates 7.1 inches of rain in 24 hours, still would result in water in the parking lot and on the university's access road, but it would be routed through campus so there will not be water in the buildings, Schadt said.
"We're giving the water a place to go so it does not flood," he added.
Part of the project will include the installation of a larger storm sewer intake at Locust and Scott streets and along the front of campus "to get flooding out of the street," he said.
The city's share of the project cost is about $642,000, The St. Ambrose portion is about $814,000. The project got a boost last year when a $400,000 grant was received from the Watershed Improvement Board of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Some of the dirt that will be removed from the parking lot will be put back; excess will be used for fill at the so-called sports bubble (an indoor sports facility) on North Brady Street that the university recently purchased and at sports practice fields at the St. Vincent Center, Hannon said.
The project will be finished and the parking lot back in place by mid-August, before the start of fall classes. "That is a must," he added.
The project was designed by MSA Professional Services Inc., Davenport.
The city and St. Ambrose have been working on the project for about nine years. It is part of a master plan to alleviate flooding, and much work already has been done.
For example, St. Ambrose has installed tanks throughout campus that have the capacity to detain 269,356 gallons of water and retain 45,000 gallons, Hannon said.
Detention tanks are open at the bottom, allowing water to seep into the ground and storm sewers. Retention tanks are closed, and the captured water is used by the school for irrigation.